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Senate Extends Wasteful Fire Grants Without Debate

Late Thursday night, the Senate extended and expanded a wasteful and ineffective fire grant program with absolutely no debate.   In the blink of an eye, Lieberman Amendment #3090 was adopted by unanimous consent and became part of the massive defense authorization bill (S.3254).

The Heritage Foundation’s David Muhlhausen, Ph.D., explains the trouble with the delightful sounding fire safety grant program:

“Fire grants appear to be ineffective at reducing fire casualties. [The various] grants failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, or civilian injuries. Without receiving fire grants, comparison fire departments and grant-funded fire departments were equally successful at preventing fire casualties.”

The specific amendment, Muhlhausen said, “continues the fire grant program’s lack of focus on fulfilling a federal homeland security function. It continues to focus fire grants on subsidizing the routine operations of basic fire services.”

Not only does the amendment continue ineffective and unfocused programs, but it expands funding for the programs.  Muhlhausen also notes that in 2009, a fire grant of nearly $1 million was awarded to the scandal-plagued and now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Fortunately, not all lawmakers are willing to accept the  federal government’s reckless and unjustified spending.  In 2011, 87 lawmakers voted against an amendment offered by retiring Ohio Republican Steve LaTourrette, who wanted to increase funding for the program by $320 million.

Late nights are hard, but conservatives in Congress must stand up and fight against every single increase in spending.  Unanimous consent is no longer an option.

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